Friday, April 22, 2011

Seal for the Sepulchre

And Jesus cried out in a loud voice saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”  And one of the soldiers took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and putting it on a reed, gave Him a drink.  Jesus tasted the sour wine and said, “It is finished.”  Then He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man and member of the prestigious Sanhedrin, asked Pontius Pilate for Christ’s body.  He laid it in his own tomb which was hewn out of rock and stopped the entrance with a huge boulder.

Now the chief priests and the Pharisees remembered that Jesus had said, “After three days I will rise again.”  They feared His disciples would remove the boulder, spirit Christ’s body out of the tomb, and then replace the boulder and claim that Christ had risen from the dead. 

Therefore, they asked Pilate to post guards at the grave until the third day and to further discourage His disciples, they set a seal on the boulder.  The guards would be signing their death warrants if anyone broke into the grave.  However, if by some remote possibility His disciples did sneak past the guards, the broken seal would be a sign of their conspiracy.

Near dawn on the third day, behold, a severe earthquake occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and rolled away the boulder and sat upon it.  His appearance was like lightning and his garment as white as snow.  The guards trembled in terror and became like dead men.  The Messiah had risen from the dead.

Later, some of the guard went into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.  After conferring with the elders, the chief priests paid a large sum of money to the soldiers and said, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were sleeping.’  And if this should come to Pontius Pilate’s ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.”  So the guards took the money and did as they were instructed.


  1. Scriptural references: Matthew 16:21; John 19:30; Matthew 27:46,48,62-66;
    Matthew 28:2-4,11-15

  2. Related article: type “Empty Womb Empty Tomb” into my search bar.